[MARMAM] New publication: Vocalisations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia.

Bec Wellard becwellard at gmail.com
Thu Sep 10 22:35:19 PDT 2015

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the following publication in PLoS ONE:

Wellard, R., Erbe, C., Fouda, L., Blewitt, M., (2015),* Vocalisation of
killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia*. PLoS
ONE 10(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136535

To date, there has been no dedicated study in Australian waters on the
acoustics of killer whales. Hence no information has been published on the
sounds produced by killer whales from this region. Here we present the
first acoustical analysis of recordings collected off the Western
Australian coast. Underwater sounds produced by Australian killer whales
were recorded during the months of February and March 2014 and 2015 in the
Bremer Canyon in Western Australia. Vocalisations recorded included
echolocation clicks, burst-pulse sounds and whistles. A total of 28 hours
and 29 minutes were recorded and analysed, with 2376 killer whale calls
(whistles and burst-pulse sounds) detected. Recordings of poor quality or
signal-to-noise ratio were excluded from analysis, resulting in 142
whistles and burst-pulse vocalisations suitable for analysis and
categorisation. These were grouped based on their spectrographic features
into nine Bremer Canyon (BC) “call types”. The frequency of the fundamental
contours of all call types ranged from 600 Hz to 29 kHz. Calls ranged from
0.05 to 11.3 seconds in duration. Biosonar clicks were also recorded, but
not studied further. Surface behaviours noted during acoustic recordings
were categorised as either travelling or social behaviour. A detailed
description of the acoustic characteristics is necessary for species
acoustic identification and for the development of passive acoustic tools
for population monitoring, including assessments of population status,
habitat usage, migration patterns, behaviour and acoustic ecology. This
study provides the first quantitative assessment and report on the acoustic
features of killer whales vocalisations in Australian waters, and presents
an opportunity to further investigate this little-known population.

The article can be downloaded from:

Alternatively, if you are unable to download the article please email me
for a pdf at: becwellard at gmail.com

Kind regards,

Rebecca Wellard.

*PhD Candidate*
*Centre for Marine Science and Technology*
Curtin University
GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
*Email​      ​*becwellard at gmail.com
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